In a world filled with business competition with possibly several home health agencies operating in the same area as yours, it is important to consider how to make your home health company stand out. Serious thought strategies for getting and growing the client base for your home care agency should be important considerations for any agency director or business owner.
How can my homecare agency rise above the crowd?
When considering how to make your home health agency stand out from the competition, think about what you would want when choosing home care services for someone you love. You would want a Home health agency that is invested in and concerned with the needs of your loved one. You might want them to take time and not rush through a visit, to listen and empathize, to take their concerns and the concerns of family members seriously. Additionally, you want an agency that is positioned to really advocate for them and ensure they’re really being taken care of. In summary, you would likely prefer a home health care company that is personable and shows they care. Being personable is how to make your home health agency stand out.
Train frontline home health agency staff
Being personable to clients is best achieved by the front-line staff providing the in-home care service — the nurses, aides, physicians, and anyone else who will come into contact with the patient. Training and educating employees will be the best tool in helping your agency stand out. Make it a priority to train your employees to be personable and connect.
Educate your patient care staff about the importance of being personable with clients, and train them in how to best accomplish this. It isn’t a bad idea to offer incentives to your front-line staff for a job well done in this regard, as they’re the face (and hands) of your home health agency and will be the ones who could ensure your success. They are also the eyes and ears of your home health business and will be the ones to really pick up on what each client really needs. Having personable and caring employees will give your clients the best experience and really make your home care agency stand out.
Train follow up staff
To strengthen the client relationship and make your agency stand out even more, it is a good idea to have other staff members who are not your client’s regular caregivers offer visits or make phone calls to check-in. This can include case managers, directors of nursing, and agency managers and directors.
The follow-up person should ask them how things are going and address their specific needs and concerns. An employee with a higher-up position checking in with a client about their specific needs and cares will really enforce to the client that they are being taken seriously and that their concerns are important. It will help them feel secure, valued, and taken care of. These visits can also be a great way to gauge patient outcomes, monitor client satisfaction, resolve conflicts, and become aware of any needs that for whatever reason had not yet become aware of by other staff.
The nursing staff and follow-up staff will then be most successful communicating and working together regarding specific patient needs. Here are some important things that both the frontline staff and follow-up staff can do to be personable with clients.
Know individualized patient needs
Instead of only going through the motions of treating clients and accomplishing tasks, staff should take advantage of their time in a client’s home assessing the client and their environment to really learn what their needs are.
This may be obvious for nurses, for whom assessing is a normal part of their job. However, aides and other staff can also be aware of the client’s environment. Important questions should be considered such as:
- Does the client have access to the food and nutrition they need?
- Are there activities the client may need help with that are currently not being serviced?
- Does the client feel safe?
- Are there any hazards in the home?
- How is the client’s mental health?
Individualized needs should initially be assessed when the client is admitted to the agency’s service. It is a good idea to even just come out and ask, “Do you have specific needs or concerns we should be aware of?” This question can also be asked to family members arranging care.
Take time with clients
Listen and connect
Once the hurdle of time has been taken care of, staff should take time during their visits to listen to the client and connect with them. Your client’s needs will very likely change through the course of time, even visit to visit. Have your staff actively listen to the client. Regardless of what measures you take, time is never limitless, however, even just a few extra minutes of focused connection will be good for your client and will help your home health agency stand out.
Teach staff that their body language can help send a message of listening and connection. Have them face the client with their body, look at them while they are talking, and take a moment to stop other tasks that they are doing. Sitting down can really convey the impression of focused listening.
Empathize and take concerns seriously
Train your staff on how to help home health clients who are not happy. Regardless of how fantastic your agency and staff are, you will have unhappy clients. Have them listen, empathize with their struggles (whether it is the staff’s fault or not), apologize, and if they are able to, make adjustments. It is important for your home care clients to know that their concerns are taken seriously. When adjustments to how things are being done cannot be made, be sure to educate them as to why.
It is thought that empathy toward patients can improve patient outcomes. Some studies have even found that an empathetic healthcare provider is associated with lower levels of hemoglobin and A1C, shorter illness periods, and higher patient satisfaction.
Empower and educate
Everyone deserves to have control of their own health. Emphasize to your healthcare providers to give thorough education about the client’s health condition, the treatments they are receiving, and what they can do, big or small, to help themselves. Receiving education and really coming to understand their own health is very empowering for clients. It can help foster trust with their providers and give them a deeper appreciation for the service they are getting.
Partner and advocate
Educating clients about their health can help them be even more aware of their needs. They can be a partner in advocating for their own health. Listen to them and let them know you are advocating for them and with them.
Home health staff can learn to take time, listen to, and connect, empathize, empower, and educate, and advocate for clients. This will help the home health agency be more personable for the client, making the client really feel taken care of, and ultimately allowing your home health agency to really stand out.
For more best practices that allow agencies to grow and thrive, please visit our blog articles section on Growing your home health agency, where you will find informative blogs on topics ranging from preventing caregiver turnover and dealing with staff burnout, to search engine optimization for homecare agencies and operational tips for survey prep.
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Read the Alora blog for industry news, including recent news, articles, and commentaries, as well as other issues that pertain to Homecare in the U.S and beyond. For more information on best agency practices or improving operations and patient outcomes, Home Health Software, or other related blog topics, questions, and feedback, please send us an email to HomeHealthSoftware@Alorahealth.com